Madagascar

Madagascar

Like I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve been on a production trip that I can talk about publicly, but the opportunity finally came last month as I led an OFM team of 3 to Madagascar, and some of the small islands off the northwest coast. Awesome chameleons Madagascar is amazing, there is no place like it in the world. It’s nicknamed “the 8th continent”, and for good reason… it’s not like Africa! There are no indigenous lions, giraffe, elephants, or anything predatory. In fact 80% of the wildlife and plant species here are ONLY found here! 99 species of lemurs, 6 of the 8 species of giant baobab, giant chameleons. Even the people are different: austronesian descent, rice farmers, houses elevated off the ground. Even their language is different. The whole trip was more like a scene out of Survivor: Borneo than Survivor: Africa. Our mission was to produce a documentary about 2 people groups, the Sakalava and the Antakarana, who are among the least reached in Madagascar. Both groups are steeped in ancestor worship and possession, and we studied much about the great spiritual darkness and oppression of this place before we set foot there. The Sakalava are well known for their possession ceremonies, where the spirits of their royal ancestors literally and physically possess the people they have chosen as mediums. And possession by those spirits would be considered the good kind of possession. There are much darker spirits that are seeking people to possess as well. The Antakarana have a strong tie to their ancestors as well. 200 years ago there were 18...
Washington West Film Festival / Dulles Community Church

Washington West Film Festival / Dulles Community Church

I just found out I’ll be able to attend the Washington West Film Festival, thanks to a couple of friends who are pitching in for the cost of my plane ticket. When I found out the pastor of our sending church, Dulles Community Church, was starting a film festival, I started begging for an opportunity to help out. I mean, how uncanny is that, given that this is our sending church, and we are here in Africa doing filmmaking? So, I’ll be assisting at the film screenings in a technical capacity. But more than that, I’ll have the opportunity to meet other indie filmmakers and share stories and ideas and inspiration. I’ll also be leading worship at DCC that weekend and speaking in the service. And who knows… maybe even showing that secret film I can’t talk about publicly… I’ll be in Northern Virginia from November 1 to 12, and would love to see everyone who lives in the area. Please email me so we can find a time to get...
Where’s Andy been the past 6 months anyway?

Where’s Andy been the past 6 months anyway?

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on a film that I can talk about publicly. Here we are, the last quarter of 2011, and the only thing I can show for the past 10 months is “Build Something Beautiful“, which I shot at the beginning of 2011 in Uganda. I’ve been busy, though. Crazy busy, producing the largest documentary OFM has done to date, which took me to countries where you have to have armed escorts, where the penalty for becoming a Christian is the most severe in the world, and where we told the story of someone who became a Christian from that community. To tell you any more about this story would endanger the person whose testimony we documented, and possibly ourselves. You’ve probably seen Kenya in the news quite a bit lately and can understand how expatriates, like ourselves and our team, have to take some reasonable precautions because Kenya is not immune or safe from these kinds of things. I hope you’ll get a chance to see what I’ve been working on for the past 6 months, and if you email me directly I’ll send you a link, so long as you don’t repost anywhere that I was involved in this production. Please be praying for this unnamed film, which has great potential to effect an entire generation, only through God’s help and sovereign plan of course. It’s a story that has never been told in film format, about a people group that no-one can talk publicly about, and we took seriously our responsibility to tell this story, recognizing we were uniquely positioned...
Set Apart: shepherd boys of Lesotho

Set Apart: shepherd boys of Lesotho

Almost a year ago, I led the OFM team to Lesotho, the high mountain kingdom in Southern Africa, to shoot and produce 2 films there. This film is about the shepherd boys, a marginalized people group who AIM is trying to reach in a very unique way. Special thanks to Rod Dixon of Daylight Media, who traveled to Lesotho with us, was the cameraman for the production, and helped tremendously with the...

Hope & Healing

A video about how AIM’s health ministries impact the kingdom of God. The OFM team have been working on this video for almost 3 years now, with footage on here spanning the continent and the past 3 years. Most recently, I shot the Lake Victoria island sequences a couple weeks ago, and scored the beginning/ending of this video. My good buddy and OFM teammate, Mike Saum, wrote and produced, Ted did most of the editing and...
Water is life

Water is life

About a year ago I traveled to Korr and Kurungu, Northern Kenya, to produce a film about the nomadic peoples of northern Kenya. When Ted returned from the US in May, he picked up this project which had been sitting on my desk waiting to be edited. I am so glad to see this project completed, finally, and am excited to see what God will do through this video to raise up prayer and mission support for the unique challenges of ministering to nomadic tribes. Korr remains one of my favorite places in Africa, and we are privileged to partner with the church and missionaries there...
Identity

Identity

Last December, OFM was commissioned by AIM’s international office to produce a video for worldwide use about AIM’s vision to see Christ-centred churches among all african peoples. Up until this point AIM had no video that spoke on an organization-wide, and world-wide basis. OFM had already identified the need for such a piece, and the commission from the international office was all the encouragement we needed to go do it. The challenge was both broad and comprehensive. To create a video under 5 minutes in length, that could be used cross-culturally in every AIM context (from US to Brazil to Hong Kong and everywhere in between!) and would show AIM’s history, depth, and breadth of mission work, and especially that AIM is all about partnership with the African church. We started an international brainstorming process in January, involving AIM regional media personnel from around the world. We started writing script treatments in February, by March we were storyboarding. In April we went to Northern Kenya to film the beginning and ending sequences. A few weeks later we went to Rwanda to film Bruce Rossington’s sequence and VO. We spent May and June editing, and pulling footage from the past 3 years of OFM’s archives for the montage sequences. After taking a month off to attend my sister’s wedding in the US, I hit the deck running with developing the motion sequences throughout the film, then scored it at least 4 different ways before settling in on the current score, then colored it for about a week. It’s the biggest collaborative effort OFM has ever pulled off, and I was...
Protected: North Africa

Protected: North Africa

North Africa: expansive deserts, exotic medinas, ancient Christianity, modern Islam. Its fascinating and diverse landscape is home to 165 million people, yet the number of people who know Christ here is less than 1% and closer to 0.1% in most places. Despite the region’s ancient Christian heritage, Jesus is not only unknown there, but great barriers to know him have been erected by the governments and their extreme control over many aspects of life. While a few of these countries have an official freedom to exercise religion, this really only applies to foreigners. Locals who desire to follow Jesus will most certainly be expelled from their family and community and risk imprisonment… or worse. Last month I had the opportunity to live for 2 weeks in an ancient medina in one these countries, which I can’t name. I’ve been to the region a handful of times and probably half my trips throughout Africa are to creative-access nations. I am well aware of the security and political considerations one must make as a Christian entering these countries. I know the list of words I can’t use over the phone, the sites I can’t visit on the internet, the email domains I can’t send or receive from. I know I have to leave my regular occupational identity back home in Kenya, and that here I am simply a photographer, a filmmaker, a tourist, who happens to be a serious Christ-follower. I don’t have to be afraid of that label. This trip reminded me that we, as Christians, are engaged in a spiritual battle, not a physical battle. The people I met...
Move Against The Fear

Move Against The Fear

I sat in the dark in a semi-circle of Congelese pastors and they asked us, “Why haven’t the missionaries returned?” “Because it’s hard,” we told them. “They hear the news of this place and they’re afraid.” Then one of the pastors said something I can’t forget. “In the past there were missionaries who loved us and accepted to suffer with us.” And I wondered if the past was just that, past. The latest film from the OFM team, and my labor of love the past 4 months while doing many other things simutaneously. I didn’t go on this trip, or do any of the camera work, or write the script. You’d think everything else would be the easy part, so why does such a project take 4 months? script revision scratch (temporary) voice over recording rough cut (wading through 10 hours of footage for the right clip) recording the voice over again with my voice recording the voice over again with another missionary’s voice recording the voice over again with the voice of the missionary (OFM team member, Mike Delorenzo), who wrote the script and I became convinced was the only voice who would make it authentic since these are his experiences and his words recording the voice over again with Mike with more feeling (or, mole feering as we like to say in the OFM office, [bill murray: lost in translation]) titling (the text sequences throughout the film) color grading (making each shot look as best it can) re-recording the voice over with Mike after more script corrections came in from the central region and finally, I spent...
Shake Hands with the Devil

Shake Hands with the Devil

In 1994, one million Rwandans were killed in the span of three months. Killed not by a bomb or weapon of mass destruction, but by a million weapons of small destruction, garden tools mostly. Killed not so much by an army, like the genocide of WW2, but neighbor turning against neighbor. This is a hard fact to ignore, even fourteen years after the Rwandan genocide, as you walk the streets of Kigali. You find yourself mentally subtracting fourteen years from the age of each person you meet, thinking of the atrocities they witnessed as a child, or worse, the atrocities they may have committed. For a country with a population of only eight million, the death of one million at the hands of their neighbors means nobody was unaffected. Everybody who survived lost somebody, if not their whole family. Many personally witnessed rape or murder at close range. Most had their lives threatened. And fourteen years later you can still feel the tension and pain people are carrying. One Rwandese youth I visited with after church told me “Nobody trusts each other. They may smile when they meet you, but as soon as you go they stop smiling and consider you their enemy.” He had fled Rwanda as a four year old, grew up in Kenya, and recently returned to Rwanda. He told me how he wished he could go back to Kenya, where people were friendly and he had friends. “I have no friends here. You can’t have friends without trust.” Ethnic and tribal tensions But even Kenya is not exempt from ethnic hatred. Back in January this...